Much to the disappointment of the local fans, the Asian Games gold medallist Jonatan Christie went down fighting to Anders Antonsen of Denmark in the semi-finals of the Daihatsu Indonesia Masters 2019 in Jakarta, Indonesia on Saturday.
Eight ranking spots separated the 12th ranked Christie and the 20th ranked Antonsen. Yet that gulf did not matter in the end for the brave Dane came back from a slow start to notch up a 21-18, 21-16 win over the local favourite.
It was Christie who had the stronger start as Antonsen struggled initially to find his feet. With his array of shots, Christie went up to 6-2 from 3-0. The hard smashes from the World No. 12 continued to bother the Dane but he soon found out a way to settle down into the match.
By rotating the shuttle and by banking on his accurate placement, he soon made a dent into the confidence level of Jonatan Christie. From 5-8, he drew level at 8-8 but even then trouble was not over for him.
Christie continued producing his barrage of attacking shots to jump to a 14-10 lead but could not hold on to it when Antonsen resorted to his trick shots to blunt his power and aggression. Errors started to flow from his racquet and the 21-year-old Dane was quick to capitalize on them. At first he evened the score at 16-16 and then refused to stop until pocketing the opener at 21-18.
Antonsen’s alertness and anticipation skills helped him seal the match in straight games. He started returning Christie’s smashes better in the second game, breaking away from a tie to lead 7-5. Under pressure, the Asian Games champion started losing his rhythm. Too many errors at the net took away whatever chances he had and he soon found himself trailing 8-13.
Antonsen’s quick footspeed was also a big factor why Jonatan Christie found it difficult to tackle him. The World No. 20 soon extended his lead to 17-11 before finishing off the match in 43 minutes.
This is Antonsen’s first final since the European Championships in April of 2017. As for Christie, he was looking to emulate his Asian Games run at home and was the only Indonesian left in singles after the exit of Anthony Sinisuka Ginting in the quarter-finals.